Breast Reconstruction as part of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Kathleen Holoyda, Columnist

Breast cancer is a challenging journey that affects millions of women. A diagnosis of breast cancer can be accompanied by an array of emotions, and women often find themselves grappling with the idea of losing a part of their feminine identity.

Breast cancer treatment may involve surgery, such as mastectomy or lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. All of these treatments can leave a woman feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. Decisions regarding treatment options may have a profound impact on a woman’s body image. The emotional toll of adjusting to a new body can be particularly overwhelming.

The role of breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure aimed at restoring the shape, size, and appearance of the breast after mastectomy or lumpectomy. It offers women the opportunity to regain a sense of wholeness and restore their confidence.

Breast reconstruction is performed by a plastic surgeon. It can take place immediately after cancer removal surgery with a general surgeon, or delayed until a later time, depending on the individual’s preference and medical considerations.

Various techniques are used in breast reconstruction, including implants, or utilizing a woman’s own tissue to rebuild the breast.

Reconstruction allows women to choose an option that best suits their needs, providing a chance to regain control over their body, crucial to the healing journey.

Making the decision about breast reconstruction

There is no right or wrong decision when it comes to breast reconstruction. Each person has her own unique desires and circumstances. Some women may opt for immediate reconstruction, while others may decide against it all together. It is a personal choice that should be supported and celebrated.

Even with successful reconstruction, scars and changes to a woman’s body can serve as reminders of the challenging journey they have faced. Settling into a new body after treatment requires patience, self-compassion, and an understanding support system.

Each woman’s journey through breast cancer is unique, and her choice to pursue breast reconstruction is her own. A trusted care team can provide expertise and guidance to help make an informed decision.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Kathleen A. Holoyda is a board-eligible plastic and reconstructive surgeon offering breast reconstruction following breast cancer. Speak with your provider about options that might be right for you. For more information about breast reconstruction, call 530.543.5799 or visit

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